Featured Pete Pal: Iowa For Pete
Meet Iowa for Pete
Joseph is a teacher in central Iowa who lives with his wife, their daughter and three (!) dogs. He’s looking to organize on-the-ground action in his early primary state, so #tellapal!
I’m a teacher in central Iowa. Before teaching I worked on campaigns and for organizations doing organizing and communications. I now reside in South Central Iowa with my wife, our daughter, and our three dogs. I also run the IA4Pete twitter account!
When I first heard the 37 year old gay mayor of South Bend was running, I laughed. I thought it was ridiculous. But then I heard Pete speak and saw his exploratory committee launch video and was really impressed. He’s the first candidate in the 2020 race that has really inspired me and has since spoken to my values and what I want for our future.
What inspired you to start a Pete specific account?
I saw that there were other state accounts being made and nobody had made one for Iowa. We’re the first start to start voting in primaries so I feel it’s important to be represented. No one else was doing it so I did.
What was the first campaign you ever donated to?
I believe it was Obama in 2007.
Do you have a first “political memory”?
I do remember voting for Ross Perot in my elementary class in 1992. I thought he was smart and also sounded funny.
I’d say I also remember Bill Clinton’s final SOTU address. It was positive and uplifting, and Clinton of course was charismatic. I felt inspired and started to pay a lot of attention in US History and Government classes. Today I teach those courses.
Let’s get controversial, is a hot dog a sandwich?
There’s nothing controversial here. Facts are facts. And the fact is that a hot dog is not a sandwich.
Do you have a favorite Pete meme?
Not a specific one, but Buttigifs on twitter probably has the best stuff I’ve seen. I love being able to use Pete gifs in comments and tweets now.
What’s your favorite Pete interview or quote? Why is it your favorite?
I’d have to say my favorite interview was Fallon. Pete was very comfortable, personable, and fun. The Seinfeld story was great as well as the “literary reference” moment.
I don’t know if I can select a favorite quote, but I’ve really embraced Pete’s platform of Liberty, Security, and Democracy. These values have been hijacked by “conservatives” who believe in limiting reproductive rights, limiting access to health care and education, and deregulating our clean air and water standards.
Pete is a call for taking those values back and giving them true meaning. I appreciate that. Democrats have had a messaging problem for a decade, and what Pete is doing is trailblazing a path forward.
Do you have your own stump speech? If someone sees your Pete swag IRL, what’s your go-to line to introduce them to Pete?
My go-to is always that we need a fresh start and a new generation that is ready to lead. Pete has executive experience and sees firsthand how the federal government affects our daily lives. He’s a veteran, a mayor, a husband, a millennial, left-handed Episcopalian who speaks 8 languages.
What’s the best way for people in your local area to help?
In Iowa we need to build significant volunteer capacity to reach out to voters via phones and door knocking. So if people are even slightly interested they need to get in touch with our grassroots volunteers or the campaign itself. Bring friends and family!
Have you volunteered for a political campaign before? What would you say to first time volunteers or people just starting to get involved?
Yes. I was on Obama’s staff in 08 and then again in 2012. I’ve also worked for PACs doing outreach, organizing, and communications. I was a precinct captain in 2016 and volunteered in 2018 midterms.
My advice is to take risks. It takes guts to call a voter or knock on their door, but 90% of people are receptive and nice, even if they don’t support your candidate. You don’t know until you try, and you have to think: That one voter you talk to might be THE deciding vote in a caucus, where turnout is small and each individual’s vote matters more. That person may also become a volunteer, and recruit more supporters.
Behind every door and phone is opportunity.
Is there a specific policy of Pete’s that close to your heart? Why?
I’d say the two most pressing for me are climate change and gun violence. I have a three year old daughter and this planet needs to be here for her and for her children. She should not grow up in a world where a person can walk into her classroom, movie theater, rock concert, church, mall, college campus and murder innocent people. I’m a gun owner and support the 2nd Amendment but we have to be reasonable and common sense here.
I’m also a teacher, and student loan forgiveness for public service or higher teacher pay is also important to me.
Have you had the chance to go to a Pete event? Can you tell us about that experience?
Yes! I went to what was supposed to be a meet and greet that turned into a rally of 1600 people! It was very inspiring and Pete and Chasten stayed after the event for another 40 minutes shaking hands and taking pictures. My daughter LOVES Pete so she was very excited to meet him and take a picture.
I’ve also went to a volunteer event that was very well organized and had a great turnout. Today I’m going to a house party!
What do you do when social media gets to be too much? How do you handle the trolls?
I may not be a good fisherman but I know bait when I see it, and I don’t take it.
What does “Be Like Pete” mean to you?
It means being thoughtful, honest, and focused. Ignore trolls and keep your eyes on the prize, which is defeating Donald Trump and putting a new generation of leadership in the White House!